But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
whose origins are in the distant past,
will come from you on my behalf. (Micah 5:2 NLT)
The religious leaders during the days of Galileo accepted a heliocentric model of the solar system to be heretical. Their mistaken understanding of Scripture placed Earth, and mankind, at the center of God’s creation. However, scientists in the centuries since have proven time and again that Galileo was correct; not only is the Earth not the center of the solar system, but the position of our solar system places it closer to the outer edge of the Milky Way than the center. In fact, the more astronomers discover, the more our planet appears to be inconsequential in the celestial grand scheme. The only thing that makes Earth special is the ongoing presence of life, especially humanity. And yet, Earth and its inhabitants do indeed sit right at the center of the redeeming work of God.
In much the same way, Bethlehem was not viewed as an important place in the first century. It was a small village with no economic, military, or political value. Before Christ’s birth, it was most well known as the burial place of Jacob’s wife Rachel. Yet God chose it with purpose. In his book The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey talks about this idea of God placing importance on the overlooked and underappreciated. “Underdog. I wince even as I write the word, especially in connection with Jesus. . . . Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog.” Spend your day in worship to the God who tilts toward the underdogs.